One of the last representatives of a brand of serious, high-art cinema, Alexander Sokurov has produced a massive oeuvre exploring issues such as history, power, memory, kinship, death, the human soul, and the responsibility of the artist. Through contextualization and close readings of each of his feature fiction films (broaching many of his documentaries in the process), this volume unearths a vision of Sokurov's films as equally mournful and passionate, intellectual, and sensual, and also identifies in them a powerful, if discursively repressed, queer sensitivity, alongside a pattern of tensions and paradoxes. This book thus offers new keys to understand the lasting and ever-renewed appeal of the Russian director's Janus-like and surprisingly dynamic cinema – a deeply original and complex body of work in dialogue with the past, the present and the future.
About the Author
Jeremi Szaniawski holds a PhD from Yale University, and is an award-winning independent filmmaker living and working in Los Angeles. He is also coeditor of Directory of World Cinema: Belgium (2013).
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Fragment and the Infinite, or, the Hypothesis of the Third Term in the Cinema of Alexander Sokurov
1. Lonely Voice of Man: Singular Murmurs, Multiple Echoes
2. Mournful Insensitivity: The Apocalypse of the Modern
3. Days of the Eclipse: 'Adieu, Babylone'; Adieu, Tarkovsky
4. Save and Protect: Of Angels and Flies
5. The Second Circle: Winter, Light, and the Intimate Sublime
6. The Stone: No Way Home
7. Whispering Pages: Death, Nothingness, Memory
8. Mother and Son: Time Abolished, Time Transfigured
9. Moloch: Adi (and Eve): Fear Eats the Soul
10. Taurus: 'Father, where art thou?'
11. Russian Ark: Imperial Elegy
12. Father and Son: Beyond Absolute Intimacy
13. The Sun: Iconoclastic Humanism
14. Alexandra: The Return to Neverwas and the Ambiguity of Romance
15. Faust: Sokurov Waltz
Postscript On the Poetics of Space in Sokurov's Tetralogy (Moloch/Taurus/The Sun/Faust)
Addendum A: interview with Alexander Sokurov, 2005
Addendum B: interview with Alexander Sokurov, 2013
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is an important study of the man who is probably the best film maker alive in the world today. I took an instant dislike, however, to the author’s writing style. It is turgid, muddy, pompous, full of multisyllabic noun forms, while at the same time replete with juvenile neologism like pastness, televisual, narratological, dynamised… The best part of the book is the last sections where Sokurov, in interviews, is allowed to speak for himself. He says, for instance, “It’s only noodles. Don’t go too deep into it.” The author could have profited by this advice. Then we would have had a much shorter and better book.